The most inspiring news about improving public education for all students—general and special ed—comes from the new health care venture launched in Boston by Jeff Bezos of Amazon, investor Warren Buffett, and Jamie Dimon of JPMorgan Chase. It doesn’t come from education at all!

These three wealthy leaders hired a practicing surgeon and author, Atul Gawande, to lead an-as-yet-to-be named new approach to improving health care for employees at their companies–better services at lower costs. I don’t know about you, but I’ve enjoyed reading Atul Gawande’s New Yorker pieces and book, Being Mortal. They are wonderfully original and thought-provoking. Gawande a powerful thought leader–and practical, too. If/when these guys succeed, they hope their new approach will be a model for other companies and entities.

I actually love the fact that the venture is still unnamed, since they don’t know where they are headed. They do know their dream. They know their purpose. Yhey know their why.

Reading about this new venture has inspired me because it reminds me of what we’re trying to do with special ed. It’s fascinating. As I read articles about it, I just substituted the words, “special education” for “medicine.” It all rang true! The challenges, backlash, dream, second guessing, encouragement—it’s all a very familiar parallel for those of us trying to fix public education, including special education. I’m impressed by this venture and started thinking….

In education, who would WE hire as our Atul Gawande to lead a transformation? And who would be moved to fund it? Interesting questions worth pursuing.

What do you think?

BTW, Part I is my piece at

About Miriam

Miriam Kurtzig Freedman, JD, MA—an expert in public education, focused on special education law— is a lawyer, author, speaker, consultant, and reformer. For more than 35 years, Miriam worked with educators, parents, policy makers, and citizens to translate complex legalese into plain English and focus on good practices for children. Now, she focuses her passion on reforming special education, with her new book, Special Education 2.0—Breaking Taboos to Build a NEW Education Law. Presentations include those at the AASA Conference, Orange County (CA), Boston College (MA), CADRE (OR), and the Fordham Institute (DC). Her writings have appeared in The Wall Street Journal, Education Week, Education Next, Hoover Digest, The University of Chicago Law Review on line,, and The Atlantic Monthly on line.

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